Sunday, 17 June 2012

First Round of Cuts Saves the Tough Decisions for Later

The Cats made their cuts to get their roster down to 65 players and none of them were very surprising. The five guys that were let go are running back James Berezik, defensive lineman Jada Brown, linebacker Alex Joseph, defensive end Matt Oh and offensive lineman Brandon Thomas. The team also put defensive back and ace special teamer Marc Beswick on the nine-game injured list.

Probably the hardest decision the team had to make was letting go of running back James Berezik. Berezik looked great in camp and looked just as good against the Argos last Wednesday, but with a backfield that is already home to Avon Cobourne and Chevon Walker – not to mention the injured Terry Grant and Martell Mallett – there just wasn't enough room to keep Berezik on the roster. The Tabbies probably want to get Cobourne some more reps in practice and some time on the field during Wednesday's preseason tilt against the Blue Bombers, so getting rid of Berezik now made more sense than keeping him around.

The other four players let go don't surprise me in the least. I didn't see much of Alex Joseph or Jada Brown during the practices I attended because, as Drew Edwards has stated, both have been dealing with injuries recently. Thomas is a guy I never even noticed, and Oh was someone that I only heard mentioned when Casey Creehan was yelling at him. I didn't expect Oh to make it out of camp.

Losing Beswick will hurt, but it is a loss the team can overcome. It won't be easy, because Beswick is an excellent special teams player – he led the league in special teams tackles with 27 – and is a Canadian to boot. Beswick has been on the sidelines during almost every practice I've seen in person, but I am surprised to see that he was nine gamed.

But the big news out of all this is that the team has saved the really tough decisions for a later date. No receivers or defensive backs were released, and those are the two positions that the team will have to make the toughest decisions. There are just too many receivers and defensive backs on the squad for the Cats to be able to keep them all. Some very good players at both positions are going to be let go )and potentially scooped up by other CFL teams) when the roster is finalized. What happens in Winnipeg on Wednesday could have a major impact on the makeup of the 2012 roster.

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